CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– A proposed four million gallon manure storage unit is stirring up controversy in Camillus. The massive concrete structure would be housed on one of the Hourigan Family farms at the intersection of Munro Road and Lyons Road in the Town of Camillus.
But when residents in the area got wind of the project they were concerned about the potential health and safety concerns a manure pit like this could bring.
One of those concerned neighbors was Lynn Connors and her husband Jeffrey. They’ve lived in Camillus for 32 years and when Lynn heard about the proposed pit in May she started digging deeper.
“There’s about 9,000 residents according to the 2020 census that live within a one-mile radius, so this is an unusual location for a manure pit because of the highly populated areas that surround this farm,” Lynn Connors said.
These storage structures house raw manure that’s turned into a liquid which is then used year-round to fertilize crops quicker and easier. Connors said its close proximity is cause for concern, fearing any spillage from the structure could contaminate 9 Mile Creek, a protected trout stream that runs into Onondaga Lake.
The Connors aren’t alone, dozens of community members showed up at the most recent Town Hall to voice their concerns including neighbor Norm Lasda who’s worried about the ecological impacts.
“What if the ground underneath were to fail in some way or the concrete structure were to fail?” Lasda asked.
And he has cause for concern, showing us the numerous sinkholes and heavy erosion on his land during an ATV ride. He said the heavy rain has been causing the bedrock to erode even more, now worried about what putting a nearly 13 million pound manure pit at the top of his hill will do to the land below.
The neighbors’ concerns don’t stop there. The gasses created by decomposing manure such as hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon dioxide pose a threat to human health. They’re also worried about increasing truck traffic if more trucks are bringing in raw manure or taking out liquid manure.
“We are not trying to destroy their business, we appreciate farmers… the problem is this just doesn’t belong in an area with so many residential neighborhoods,” Connors said.
The Town of Camillus is aware of these concerns and has scheduled a public hearing on the issue on Tuesday, July 12 at 7pm.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to the Hourigan Family Farm for comment. Owner Andy Hourigan declined to comment on camera but said in a phone conversation these manure pits are safe and regulated.